37 Marine Conservation Zones to be considered for consultation in 2015
Monday 24th February 2014
Reef cpt Paul Naylor
The Wildlife Trusts welcome Defra’s release today of the list of 37 sites for a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), which are due for consultation in 2015.
We are pleased by the Government’s commitment, demonstrated today, to a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones
Marine Conservation Zones are vital to protect and restore the marine environment. Such areas are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential following decades of neglect and decline. They are also needed for mobile species – such as whales, dolphins, basking sharks and seabirds – in order to create a network that is truly ecologically coherent.
Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Seas, said:
“We are pleased by the Government’s commitment, demonstrated today, to a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. The 27 areas designated at the end of last year were the first step towards an ecologically coherent network. We are buoyed by progress being made towards the next step in its creation.
“There is huge public support for greater protection of our seas using Marine Protected Areas. They are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential, following decades of neglect and decline.”
In November 2013, The Wildlife Trusts welcomed Defra’s immediate designation of 27 Marine Conservation Zones, the first step towards the creation of an ecologically coherent network so absolutely vital to ensure the healthy future of our seas. At that time, Marine Environment Minister George Eustice also announced plans to designate two more phases of MCZs over the next three years to complete the Government’s contribution to a network of marine protected areas. He said: “This is just the beginning, we plan two further phases over the next three years and work to identify these will begin shortly.” A consultation on the second phase is expected to be launched in early 2015.
Notes to editors:
• The 37 provisional sites to be considered for the second tranche of MCZs announced today are
Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ): is a new type of MPA designation created by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. MCZs can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh inshore and offshore waters. Designating Marine Conservation Zones to contribute to a network of Marine Protected Areas is a Government commitment under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to ensure that our marine environment is protected for years to come. Marine Protected Area (MPA): is a general term to describe an area of the sea or coast where management measures are put in place to protect habitats and wildlife.
The 27 Marine Conservation Zones designated in November 2013, can be viewed at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZfriends
In June 2013 more than 350,000 pledges were presented to Downing Street calling for an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas. These pledges were often signed in creative ways, at aquaria and seaside events where people made sand and willow sculptures or created silver-scaled marine creatures. This action came in the wake of the State of Nature report put together by scientists working side-by-side with 25 wildlife organisations. They compiled a stock-take of our native species – the first of its kind in the UK – and revealed that 60% of all terrestrial and marine animal and plant species studied have declined in the past 50 years, with seabirds, harbour seals, sharks, skates, rays suffering particular declines, along with large-scale damage to sub-tidal habitats. Protected areas for marine wildlife are a key tool to help reverse this trend and thus meet international biodiversity targets.
A two and half year public consultation process involving one million stakeholders recommended the establishment of 127 Marine Conservation Zones in English seas across England. You can see where these 127 recommnded MCZs are at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZmap